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I know baseboard heaters are supposed to be more efficient than heat pumps, but with today's oil prices (mine is oil to hot water heated) I wonder if a fuel pump isn't more efficient. My baseboard isn't working right now, and I'd have to put some serious money into getting it fixed, so should I just get a fuel pump set up with my existing AC? Any advice would be great.


Thanks!
 

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I know baseboard heaters are supposed to be more efficient than heat pumps, but with today's oil prices (mine is oil to hot water heated) I wonder if a fuel pump isn't more efficient. My baseboard isn't working right now, and I'd have to put some serious money into getting it fixed, so should I just get a fuel pump set up with my existing AC? Any advice would be great.


Thanks!
Depends on where you live.

If you live up north where the winters are cold, that heat pump will not work efficiently. It'll cut over to resistance "emergency" heating, and that will be costly.
 

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Are your baseboard heaters the hydronic type?

A high-efficiency heat pump may have energy savings over the high price of oil or gas these days.

You should do an analysis of the cost per BTU of heating with gas, oil, and electric. The answers may surprise you. :eek:
 

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Depends on where you live.

If you live up north where the winters are cold, that heat pump will not work efficiently. It'll cut over to resistance "emergency" heating, and that will be costly.
I'm not sure how you're using the term efficient here, but many people, including myself, do use heat pumps up north to effectively lower their heating bill. Mine was on this morning and I can bet it was cheaper BTU cost to run than my 92% AFUE Propane forced air.

If you live in a climate where a heat pump cannot provide all your seasonal heating needs, you're gonna need a secondary heat source. So you either need to fix that boiler or replace it with something else.

Without knowing where you are located it is impossible to even guess.
 

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I'm not sure how you're using the term efficient here, but many people, including myself, do use heat pumps up north to effectively lower their heating bill. Mine was on this morning and I can bet it was cheaper BTU cost to run than my 92% AFUE Propane forced air.

If you live in a climate where a heat pump cannot provide all your seasonal heating needs, you're gonna need a secondary heat source. So you either need to fix that boiler or replace it with something else.

Without knowing where you are located it is impossible to even guess.
I'd go with the boiler.

The heat from a boiler or gas furnance just feels much warmer than from a heat pump blowing cold air or uneven heat from a resistance heater.
 

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Heat pumps are more effiecient than gas furnace unless your electric rate is high such as in California. The effiency ratio is about 3:1. I will tell you though, if your wife or significant other is always cold save yourself the trouble and repair the boiler. Nothing produces a more even and comfortable heat than a hydronic system.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Baseboard heaters

In response to "Are your baseboard heaters the hydronic type":

I'm not sure, but I know the oil heats up water that runs through them (sorry if that doesn't help). I'm trying to understand and learn more about how my system works.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Replies

How do you reply to an individual comment (so that text shows in the same box)? And to sgthvac's comment, I am the wife :)
 

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I am located on the eastern shore of Maryland, so it;s not real cold here.
Where? I'm near Salisbury ... :thumbup:

Are you on DP&L or Choptank?

Maybe we can get a quantity discount, as I am looking to install a new high-efficiency heat pump as well.

So far, I have asked 3 fellow contractors for prices, and not one of them has responded. You can't tell me that they are slow on work!! :furious:
 

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How do you reply to an individual comment (so that text shows in the same box)? And to sgthvac's comment, I am the wife :)
You hit the "quote" box in the bottom right corner of the message you want to quote. Then type in your reply in the dialog box. :thumbsup:
 

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I am located on the eastern shore of Maryland, so it;s not real cold here.
Then I believe in that region you could go with a heat pump and backup heat strip. The heat strip would be needed rarely.

Having said that, if you choose a heat pump you will need duct work run to all heat zones as I have never heard of a hybrid heat pump setup that mates to boiler. If one did, I'd wonder about its efficiency.

What kind of serious money are you looking at to repair your current system?
 

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Heat pumps are more effiecient than gas furnace unless your electric rate is high such as in California. The effiency ratio is about 3:1. I will tell you though, if your wife or significant other is always cold save yourself the trouble and repair the boiler. Nothing produces a more even and comfortable heat than a hydronic system.
I'm not sure I agree here. If by more efficient you mean from a purely theoretically standpoint a heat pump is a heat transfer engine, and even at low outdoor temps can have a Coefficient of Performance above 1, then yes I would agree. If by more efficient you mean from an economic standpoint I must disagree.

And since I believe the original thrust of the OP's question was asking an economic question, I would advise the OP to consider these factors when comparing two heating systems: efficiency of your furnace/boiler, cost of your fossil fuel, cost of your electric, HSPF and COP curves of the Heat Pump, heat loss of the structure, and initial cost of install or repair.
 

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You hit the "quote" box in the bottom right corner of the message you want to quote. Then type in your reply in the dialog box. :thumbsup:
Thank you, I never knew what the quote box was for.

Now about your system, yes, you have an oil fired boiler and it sounds like you have central air as well, if I read an earlier post correctly, you already have the duct work in place. With that in mind, I think going to a heat pump with electric heat strips would work well for you. Heat pumps are definately more effiecient. That being said, you have to understand that instead of getting 180 temp. coming off the baseboards the temp will be 90-110. a vast difference in comfort. I've seen some people have a heat pump installed and have it remove because they could never get used to the home feeling drafty when they are sitting down in the evening. Pesronally, I have a 96% eff. natural gas boiler that also heats my domestic hot water as well and I love it unfortunatly eff. for oil boilers have not increased above 75-80%.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Location

Where? I'm near Salisbury ... :thumbup:

Are you on DP&L or Choptank?

Maybe we can get a quantity discount, as I am looking to install a new high-efficiency heat pump as well.

So far, I have asked 3 fellow contractors for prices, and not one of them has responded. You can't tell me that they are slow on work!! :furious:
I'm in Preston, and for oil I use Tri Gas & Oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Natural gas boiler

Thank you, I never knew what the quote box was for.

Now about your system, yes, you have an oil fired boiler and it sounds like you have central air as well, if I read an earlier post correctly, you already have the duct work in place. With that in mind, I think going to a heat pump with electric heat strips would work well for you. Heat pumps are definately more effiecient. That being said, you have to understand that instead of getting 180 temp. coming off the baseboards the temp will be 90-110. a vast difference in comfort. I've seen some people have a heat pump installed and have it remove because they could never get used to the home feeling drafty when they are sitting down in the evening. Pesronally, I have a 96% eff. natural gas boiler that also heats my domestic hot water as well and I love it unfortunatly eff. for oil boilers have not increased above 75-80%.
I just had a guy come and check out my system. Apparently, my oil boiler/ water heater is very inefficient as it is outside, and it has zero pressure for some reason. He suggested the following options: a heat pump and a Rennai water heater with removal of my boiler OR a natural gas boiler hooked up to the current baseboard system (which he would fix) and piggy-bank water heater. I was planning on spending $5,000 (I had no idea), now it looks like closer to $20,000 (Ahh!) Any thoughts?
 

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I just had a guy come and check out my system. Apparently, my oil boiler/ water heater is very inefficient as it is outside, and it has zero pressure for some reason. He suggested the following options: a heat pump and a Rennai water heater with removal of my boiler OR a natural gas boiler hooked up to the current baseboard system (which he would fix) and piggy-bank water heater. I was planning on spending $5,000 (I had no idea), now it looks like closer to $20,000 (Ahh!) Any thoughts?
For point of clarification what do you have now exactly? Any ducts and A/C? How is your hot water heated now?

Also, did he give you a breakdown of costs for these two options? I find it hard to believe that either option will cost the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
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For point of clarification what do you have now exactly? Any ducts and A/C? How is your hot water heated now?

Also, did he give you a breakdown of costs for these two options? I find it hard to believe that either option will cost the same.
I have an A/C set-up with ducts, and my hot water is heated by oil. Somehow (as you can probably tell, I don't understand everything about the workings of my systems) the boiler must heat the water (I know he said there is a circulator under the house constantly running~ very inefficient, I know.)

He priced up the heat pump: 13 seer 30000BTU $9439, 18 SEER add $3056, Geothermal add $7891.

The plumber is going to send me an estimate on the RENNAI.

The first guy is going to send me an estimate on the natural gas boiler and piggy bank water heater (I should have everything by Tuesday.)

I will post then, please, if you don't mind, check back and give me your advice. Thanks! :)
 

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Okay that explains a lot and does give you quite a few options. What I can say right now is you need other quotes and begin thinking about other options, and so you might as well start queuing up the quotes.

Get multiple heat pump quotes for 13 or 14 SEER only with heat strips. That appears to be the sweat spot for cost effectiveness. You want a taste of different brands as they do vary quite a bit in price: Carrier, Trane, Goodman, etc. Be sure any add-on extended warranties are itemized. The heat pump option you quoted sounds high, but I don't know all that includes, so I can't be sure.

Get multiple quotes for Natural Gas furnace 90-92% efficient. Again you want multiple brands.

Furnace, HP and boiler installation is key so go with the guys who answer all your questions and you know someone that used them.

Get multiple quotes for hot water tanks. If you can do direct vented instead of power vented you'll see a big drop in unit price. I shy away from tank-less because they have a high initial prices, are complex and costly to repair, dubious of the operating cost savings, and know undersized plumbing isn't always addressed. If you do go tank-less, get a plumber. If you go regular tank, a local chain (Lowes, HomeDepot) should be okay (less to mess up on).
 
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